The Art Dealers Association of America opens its 28th annual art fair, The Art Show, on 2 March, held in the drill hall of the Park Avenue Armory on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. In recent years, the show’s focus has been on more off-beat stands, especially ones focusing on single artists, says Anthony Meier, the vice president of the ADAA, and chair of The Art Show. “It’s been evolving of the last five or six years,” he said. “I think the booths, because of the scale of them and intimacy, it gives you a chance to engage the gallerist, and possibly enlighten you to something about this artist that you couldn’t do except possibly in a museum setting.”
Lucas Samaras, Box #4 (1963)
Meier pointed to several single-artist stands this year as examples of displays one wouldn’t see at most other art fairs: Pace Gallery’s dedicated to Lucas Samaras, Salon 94’s to Marilyn Minter, David Zwirner’s to Sherrie Levine. “Part of the thing worth noting is there is a mix of specificity of a body of work, as well as new work,” Meier said. “That articulation both by the dealer—or the artist if he or she is still living—is what makes this interestingly spicy.”
This element is as much about quality programming as it is a way for The Art Show to distinguish itself in an ever-more-crowded fair landscape. “You’ll see galleries that share artists where they’re cooperating in ways they’re not able to at fairs such as Basel or Frieze or Frieze Masters,” Meier said, pointing to Marianne Boesky Gallery and Dominique Lévy Gallery’s joint stand of painting, drawing, and sculpture by Frank Stella.
Other standouts among the 72 exhibitors include David Nolan Gallery’s booth, which will consist of a single work by Barry Le Va. Rhona Hoffman Gallery will pair younger, emerging artists with ones like Alighiero Boetti, Spencer Finch, Lucio Fontana, Jim Hodges, Gordon Matta-Clark and Richard Tuttle. ADAA newcomer Hauser & Wirth will show the artist and poet Fausto Melotti. There will even be a performance by the Cuban-American artist Maria Elena González: Tree Talk, at Hirschl & Adler Modern, translates bark patterns on birch trees into music for a player piano.
Maria Elena Gonzalez's Tree Talk, at the 31st Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana
In selling all this, Meier also engaged in the traditional light competition with The Armory Show, held on Piers 92 and 92 on the Hudson River. “Normally during this time of year, the weather’s pretty foul so it’s a nice respite from outside,” he said, “and you have an enormous amount of neighbourhood visitors as well as people coming from the afar. At the piers there is no such thing as a neighbourhood visitor. It’s a schlep to cross the highway!”
• The Art Show, Park Avenue Armory at 67th Street, New York, 2-6 March